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Cowboys will ride with coverage

IRVING, Texas -- The New York Giants have won two of the last five Super Bowls in large part because of their pass rush.

From Michael Strahan then to Jason Pierre-Paul now, the Giants were able to affect the quarterback with pressure.

The Cowboys have witnessed what that pass rush can do in losing in the divisional round of the 2007 playoffs and the winner-take-all regular-season finale in 2011. Tony Romo was sacked eight times in those two games and hit twice as much.

By trading up to take Morris Claiborne with the No. 6 overall pick, the Cowboys are taking a different approach. They will be looking for the coverage to make the pass rush better.

“I think it works together,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “But covering them better, you’re getting more pressure and maybe if you have a playmaking corner like Claiborne is, he can make plays on the ball and you can turn the ball over and change the game that way. So I think it all works together. No one appreciates the importance of pressure more than I do, understanding how difficult that is, but at the same time if you’re covering them well, your pressure is going to get that much better and your defense is going to get better.”

Frankly, there was not a top-level pass rushing threat that wowed the Cowboys. Mississippi State’ Fletcher Cox was at the top of the list as a defensive end, but there were not the sure-fire, DeMarcus Ware-type pass rushers that they felt would have made the No. 14 pick worth it.

So the Cowboys adapted to coverage over pressure. Over the next few years we’ll know whether pressure can make a secondary or a secondary can make pressure.